PLA chief: No ballistic missile deployment targeting Taiwan
ROC Central News Agency
Washington, May 18 (CNA) The chief of general staff of China's People's Liberation Army said in the United States Wednesday that China does not have ballistic missiles deployed in coastal areas targeting Taiwan.
Chen Bingde, speaking at a joint news conference with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that some Americans have demanded that China remove or withdraw ballistic missiles positioned on its southeastern coast opposite Taiwan.
"I can tell you here responsibly that we only have garrison deployment across from Taiwan. We do not have operational deployment and there are no ballistic missiles deployed there," he claimed.
Although he said China is willing to solve the Taiwan issue peacefully, Chen stressed that one of the goals of Chinese military development is to ensure that it is militarily well-prepared "in the event of pro-independence figures, including (former presidents) Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, " attempting to separate Taiwan from China.
On U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Chen asked rhetorically why Taiwan needs to buy American weapons if the United States sincerely believes its stated policy that Taiwan is part of China. He appeared to question the validity of the U.S. position regarding Taiwan.
The general warned that if the U.S. continues arms sales to Taiwan, it will certainly affect U.S.-China relations. As to the extent of the impact, that will depend on the nature of the weapons sold to Taiwan, he said.
He also lashed out at the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), saying that arms sales permitted under the U.S. law amount to U.S. meddling in the "domestic affairs" of another country, an approach he described as "hegemonic."
Under the 1979 TRA, the U.S. is obliged to provide Taiwan with sufficient defensive arms to ensure its security.
He added that some U.S. lawmakers have told him it is time for Congress to review the law. (By Zep Hu and Deborah Kuo) ENDITEM/J
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